Bihar mein Gabbar Ayega? Tuesday to show if voters respond to the wolf whistle

Both PM Modi and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar have been warning voters that if they do not vote for the NDA, Jungle Raj would return. The second phase of polling will show how voters respond

Photo courtesy: Twitter/ @alokbha59102427
Photo courtesy: Twitter/ @alokbha59102427

Abdul Qadir

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar have borrowed from ‘Sholay’, the blockbuster film from 1975, to scare the Bihar voters. Chuckles Shri Bhagwan, an activist in Gaya, “They are invoking Gabbar Singh, the dialogue in which mothers lulled children into sleep lest Gabbar would come knocking.”

Will the voters in Bihar get scared of the spectre of the return of the Jungle Raj and vote for the NDA? The answer will be available on the counting day on November 10. But Shri Bhagwan believes the attempt to stoke fear among people would not work.

It is strange to see a chief minister who has been in power for 15 years run a negative campaign on fear. Will the voters call his bluff? It is also curious to see the two leaders harp on lawlessness and Jungle Raj that supposedly existed till 15 years ago. They are openly saying that voting for the opposition would pave the way for the return of the lantern age in Bihar, return of the time when women were not safe (as if they are safe now).

The ‘Jungle Raj’ has been the common refrain of both Nitish Kumar and Narendra Modi. Otherwise, in his election rallies, the Prime Minister has dwelt on Ram Temple, Article 370, Kashmir, terrorism, Pakistan and so on besides local deities and festivals. Nitish Kumar on the other hand has been talking of the hard work he had put in to deliver electricity, water and better roads to the state. Significantly, however, he makes no mention of the promise of a ‘corruption-free government’ that Nitish Kumar had made in 2015.

Tejashwi Yadav on the other hand has been busy reminding the Prime Minister of the promises he had made to the state in 2015. Five years ago PM Modi had played the Santa Claus, offering to shower bounties on the state. He had promised to ensure that the closed sugar mills in and around Motihari would be re-opened, that on his next visit to the state, he would have tea in Motihari with sugar produced in a sugar mill in Motihari. The sugar mills are still closed and the PM did not have the promised cup of tea when he addressed an election rally in Motihari this time.

Tejashwi Yadav has also been reminding the PM of the scams that he had accused Nitish Kumar of encouraging in 2015. Profusely quoting from the PM’s five-year-old election speeches, the RJD leader has lost no opportunity to embarrass the PM.

Nitish Kumar, who was scathing in his criticism of the PM and the BJP in 2015, has walked the extra mile to mend fences with PM Modi. He now tells the electorate that PM Modi will now ensure the development of Bihar. Both seem to have been caught napping by the tough challenge being offered by someone they had dismissed earlier as of no consequence.

The Bihar CM, who, in 2005 and 2010 assembly elections and 2010 Parliamentary elections used his clout as a senior alliance partner to keep the then Gujarat CM at bay, is also now compelled to seek votes for the sake of his new-found three-year-old friendship with Modi.

The wheel turned full circle on 28 October, when Nitish Kumar not only profusely praised Narendra Modi for his development vision but also loudly thanked the PM for sparing time from his busy schedule to campaign for Bihar elections.

Though apparently less stoic as compared to his first joint outing in the election season in Dehri, the PM is still not as effusive and reciprocating as Nitish would have liked him to be. Most of the time the PM referred to NDA and not Nitish Kumar, leaving nobody in any doubt about who is the senior partner in this election.

This is not for the first time that Nitish Kumar is swallowing his own words. The ‘Mitti Mein Mil Jayenge’ rhetoric of 2015 is not fully out of public memory. He had also politically embraced the couple whom he is now accusing of less than responsible conduct in their private lives by raising a large family of nine children.

If Nitish was so much in love with the concept of the small family, he could have very well extended his advice to Lalu Yadav between 1975 and 1991 when the two were inseparable friends.

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